The FBI is issuing an alert regarding the increased number of advance fee schemes that many are falling victim to.
An advance fee scheme is a scam that involves a victim paying money to someone in anticipation of receiving something in return of greater value, like a loan, a contract, an investment or a gift. But in such a scheme, the victim receives little or nothing in return.
In many cases, these schemes are crafted to seem authentic and present a genuine “opportunity” — like the chance to reclaim lost funds, lottery winnings, or other financial benefits. Con artists are limited by nothing but their imagination when it comes to crafting these schemes to seem innocuous and real.
The FBI offers several tips for those who want to stay wary and protect themselves against such schemes:
- If the offer seems too good to be true, it most likely is
- If you’ve never heard of the person or party contacting you, do some research regarding their background by checking the Better Business Bureau and/or consulting with your bank
- Make sure you understand any and all terms of contracts/business agreements you enter into
- Be wary of red flags with mailing addresses: businesses that operate out of P.O. boxes or mail drops in lieu of a street address may be inauthentic
- Businesses/persons without a direct telephone line or that never answer your calls are suspicious as well
- Beware of deals that require nondisclosure agreements designed to prevent you from verification — con artists frequently use non-circumvention agreements to threaten victims with a civil suit if business is reported to law enforcement
For more information about protecting yourself against advance fee schemes, click here .
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